Monday, August 23, 2004

random random

Hi guys!! Check out There's a review of my band's last demo cd, Listening To The Pop there. And it's a pretty good review too, on an American internet magazine! I hope it will open doors for us overseas, as I've long dreamt of getting Couple (my band) released on a pop label that I love like Not Lame Recordings, Parasol or Spinart. Thank you so much Mr Kevin Mathews for reviewing our humble little demo CD!!

We're now attempting to record our stuff properly in a proper studio. A mixture of old and new stuff. Will be in the studio again tonight to brush up on a few songs and re-record one song. Maybe even add another new song, if we have the time, and the mood!! So far, the rough mixes sound promising. I hope we'll manage to pull it off.

Saw Pickup On South Street by Samuel Fuller last week. Finally got the DVD. I saw it once before, but on a really crummy video tape where I can't even hear most of the dialogue properly. But now, thanks to Criterion, I'm finally able to see it in a glorious print, with glorious sound and subtitles as well. And what a little wonder of a film it is. It's got a film noir type set-up and story, but it's interest in the humanity of the main characters, who are all 'crooks' is thoroughly touching. The characters, one's a pickpocket, one's a stool pigeon (i.e. informer), a 'broad' (might or might not be a hooker), are so human, so real, you cannot help but care about them. And the performances are simply outstanding, especially by Thelma Ritter as Moe, the stoolie. This is one film I'm destined to watch over and over again. Tough as nails and tender in equal amounts.
Rating: 9 out of 10.

Also watched Far From Heaven again last weekend. Broke my heart all over again when the breakup scene came. That scene never fails to choke me. Never!! When Dennis Haysbert's character said to Julianne Moore's character, "Have a proud life. Have a splendid life.", it is simply one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of cinema, I think. You folks really have to see this movie if you haven't. It might be an homage to 1950's style melodrama, but the emotional truth is never dated. I've always loved this movie and thought highly of it. But now, after seeing it again, I think it has now knocked the door on my list of favourite films of all time, right up there with films like City Lights, Breaking The Waves, Shadows, Husbands, Rushmore, The 400 Blows, Apur Sansar and Tokyo Story. Movie heaven indeed.
Rating: 9 out of 10

Monday, August 16, 2004

salam cinema

Another post long overdue. Again, work has been hellish, but fun. More challenge. More hearings, more trials coming up. It should get more interesting in the next few months. But, enough of work. I saw The Nutty Professor last week. The original one, written, directed by and starring Jerry Lewis. It wasn't that funny. In fact, as a comedy, I think it failed most of the time. Only managed to wring 3 or 4 hard laughs out of me. But strangely, as 'cinema', I think it's pretty good!!

Now why would I say that? One reason why I checked it out was that Jean-Luc Godard put it in his list of the Top 10 films of the year when it came out. And if I'm not mistaken, that list included people like Robert Bresson, Howard Hawks and Alain Resnais. If you check Jonathan Rosenbaum's 100 most important American films list, you'll also find The Nutty Professor there, along with works such as The Wrong Man, Pickup On South Street and The Phenix City Story. Now these are no light company to be with.

So I checked it out, and found that 'the clown', Mr Jerry Lewis, might have had higher aspirations than we think he's capable of. The comedy is of course quite a lot of shots of him pulling faces, and that is definitely NOT funny. But the film has this unexpected dramatic tone which is frankly quite disturbing, especially the whole thing about the split personality. Never mind that, but the most outstanding thing about it is the many moments that a simple little shot, or simply an elaborate one, left my jaw on the floor admiring the care and thought put into achieving them. Like Truffaut once said, normally it's hard to find even one outstanding moment of invention in a whole film. But in The Nutty Professor, you'll find quite a few. Believe me.

My only complaint - after about 2/3 into the film, Mr Lewis seemed to run out of ideas visually and things just looked normal.

However, if you do want to check it out, just remember that it is a 'bad movie'. Only, quite illogically, it somehow turned out to be 'good cinema'. Talk about oxymorons!!
Rating: Movie = 4 out of 10; Cinema = 7 out of 10